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Sūrahs Qāri‘ah-Takāthur
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)



These two sūrahs form a pair as far as the subjects they discuss are concerned. The first sūrah warns its addressees of the terrifying events which shall take place on the Day of Judgement, while the second, with reference to these events warns them of their attitude of indifference.

The sūrahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh. A look at their contents shows that, like the previous sūrahs, they were revealed in Mecca just before the Prophet's migration to Medina in the phase of Itmām-i-Hujjat. In this phase of his mission, the Prophet (sws) was revealing the truth to them in its ultimate form after which they could have no excuse to deny it.

Central Theme

The central theme of Sūrah Qāri‘ah is to warn people of the arrival of the Day of Judgement which will be as sudden as an unexpected rap at the door and they will emerge from their graves to a fate their deeds entail.

The central theme of Sūrah Takāthur is to warn people with reference to this Day of Judgement about their attitude of outdoing one another in the acquisition of wealth. This attitude would not have distracted them from this greatest reality of Life -- the Day of Judgement -- if they knew the consequences of this Day and if they realized that this Day of accountability was not far way.

Explanation of the Sūrahs

Sūrah Qāri‘ah

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the ever Merciful.

That Pounding One!1

What is that Pounding One?!2

What do you imagine what the Pounding One is?3 (1-3)

On that Day, people shall be like moths scattered about4 and mountains like carded wool5. (4-5)

Then whose scales are heavy shall dwell in bliss and whose scales are light, the abyss shall be his abode6. and what do you understand that is!? Blazing Fire.

Sūrah Takāthur

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the ever Merciful.

The greed for abundance has distracted you until you reached the graves7. [O people! this is nothing] Nothing indeed! You shall soon come to know! Again [listen! this is nothing] Nothing indeed! You shall soon come to know8! (1-4)

[No! never would you have been distracted by it] Never indeed! if you knew definitely that you would surely see the fire of Hell, then [knew that] you would observe it by your very eyes, then [knew that] you would be questioned about all these favours on that Day9. (5-8)





1.The Day of Judgement has been mentioned with this attribute to alarmingly convey the unexpectedness of its arrival. Like a bolt from the blue it would alight and catch everyone unaware. It is in the well being of everyone to anticipate this abrupt arrival by remaining fearful of it.

2. The question serves to magnify the alarm sounded in the previous verse.

3. A special Qur’ānic style meant to focus the attention of the addressees on a great event.

4. A graphic description of the state of helplessness each person will be in on that Day. Everyone will stand alone to reckon with the results of his deeds.

5. The simile vividly portrays the total crumbling of the mountains on that Day: Just as each fibre of carded wool is completely set apart, so will be each particle of a mountain.

6. Only good deeds shall be able to tilt the scales of this Balance as has been stated elsewhere in the Quran (7:8-9).

7. The addressees are the affluent leadership of the Quraysh who were so overcome by the desire to acquire worldly riches that they would spend all their lives in amassing them.

8. This serves as a forceful intimation to those who consider material gains in life all that one must strive for. It sounds a warning to those who after having been explained everything are not willing to open their eyes to the actual reality. It cautions them that this life whose charms have allured them so much is not the end. In fact, the life in the Hereafter, which at the moment is invisible to them, is the life for which they must really strive.

9. These verses unveil the real reason behind the carefree attitude of the Quraysh. It is attributed to their lack of belief in the Day of Judgement, a Day on which they would observe the abyss of hell from their very eyes. A day when they would be held answerable for all the favours and blessings the Almighty had showered upon them and which they had squandered against His liking. The word na`eem (favours) encompasses all the skills and capabilities, as well as all means and resources God has blessed man with. All these privileges and favours necessitate that he be grateful to God and use them in the way prescribed by Him. Since in this sūrah the evils of acquisition of wealth have been highlighted, wealth, which is one of the connotations of the word na`eem, has been specially discussed here.

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